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The Media Are the Enemy

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Once again Seymour Hersh puts his career and his massive ego ahead of the national security of the United States: Report: U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday.

The article, by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh, said the secret missions have been going on at least since last summer with the goal of identifying target information for three dozen or more suspected sites.

Hersh quotes one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon as saying, “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible.”

One former high-level intelligence official told The New Yorker, “This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign.”

The White House said Iran is a concern and a threat that needs to be taken seriously. But it disputed the report by Hersh, who last year exposed the extent of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

“We obviously have a concern about Iran. The whole world has a concern about Iran,” Dan Bartlett, a top aide to President Bush, told CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Of The New Yorker report, he said: “I think it’s riddled with inaccuracies, and I don’t believe that some of the conclusions he’s drawing are based on fact.”

I’m no longer surprised that journalists lack an internal regulatory mechanism (sometimes called “ethics” or another quaint old-fashioned term that no longer applies, “patriotism”) to prevent the release of information that could damage their own country. On the contrary, they actively search for that information and release it with great relish.

But it’s discouraging that our government apparently lacks the will to prosecute leaks like this as some form of treason or sedition. Hersh is only doing what a mainstream journalist in the 21st century does—feeding off the bottom—but the ones who are really to blame are the consultants and intelligence officials who talk to him.

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